PUSD: Nurturing Environments for Thriving Learners

Steven Sneed (l) and Giovanni Ayala (r). Photo courtesy PUSD

Education reform pioneer and Yale child psychiatrist Dr. James Comer tells us that significant learning cannot occur without significant relationships. When children and youth connect and trust the adults around them, their learning accelerates.

To build school environments that nurture thriving learners, the Pasadena Unified School District has increased the number of supportive staff on campus and trained existing employees on positive behavior support and youth mental health.

Steven Sneed and Giovanni Ayala are part of district’s Child Welfare, Attendance, and Safety team and work to connect kids to services.

“When kids know that they have an adult they can trust to help them figure out solutions, they will seek us out,” said Steven Sneed, an intervention specialist with the district’s Child Welfare, Attendance and Safety Office. Sneed works with students who struggle with school attendance and behavioral challenges and partners with school personnel and families to wrap support around kids. His job involves daily interaction with students, their families, teachers, aides, and other school personnel.

Sneed joined PUSD last year after working for Hathaway-Sycamores as a youth specialist based at Pasadena High School, and previously worked for PUSD.

Giovanni Ayala launched Mentors for L.I.F.E., the middle school youth mentoring program that builds trusting relationships between students and caring individuals who offer encouragement, guidance, and support. The goal is to improve the student’s attendance and guide him/her toward graduation by developing the student’s strengths. Ayala has worked in PUSD for more than a decade.

To become a Mentor for L.I.F.E., please contact Giovanni Ayala at 626-396-3600, Ext. 88230 for additional information.

For more information about PUSD’s Child Welfare and Attenandance, visit gopusd.com/cwas

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